JOHN Duffy hopes a period of “soul searching” this week will lead to a positive performance when winless Leigh host champions St Helens on Friday. (kick-off 6pm).

Four successive defeats have dropped Duffy’s squad to the foot of the Betfred Super League table on points difference from Wakefield and Huddersfield who also have to taste victory in 2021.

And last week’s 34-8 loss at Salford, particularly his side’s second half display, was a low point for the head coach.

“We have had a reality check with everyone so hopefully we can get a better performance from the boys,” said Duffy.

“There has been some soul searching to try to get a few more honest answers out of the players as to what is going on on the field.

“There is effort there but everyone is going very negative. We are getting ourselves in a rut when we error. So, we have to make sure we do something positive in the next set.

“Saints are the best team in the comp for me. But we have got to concentrate on Leigh and try to get a performance out of ourselves and not worry too much about the result.

“We need one longer than we got at Salford last week, that’s for sure. After half-time we were very poor.”

Ironically, Leigh edged out Saints 25-24 in Tommy Makinson’s testimonial back in February; Ryan Brierley landing a clinching drop goal.

Since then Centurions have lost six successive games while Saints top the table with a 100 percent record and also knocked Leeds Rhinos out of the Challenge Cup.

“There are no excuses from me or the players but it has been tough with injuries, especially during games and having to move players about,” added Duffy.

“We are doing it tough but we have got to stay and positive. That goes for me too. It is a lonely place (being head coach)-always will be, always has been-but it is my job to keep the players upbeat through this tough time.”

Leigh’s lack of continuity in selection, especially in key areas, hasn’t helped. Another different half back combination is likely to be named for tomorrow’s clash.

Jamie Ellis and Joe Mellor were paired in the pre-season friendly against Kristian Woolf’s outfit. Ellis hasn’t featured since damaging knee ligaments in Centurions’ following friendly at Warrington while Mellor is currently absent for upto six weeks with a grade hamstring tear.

Keanan Brand-added to the casualty list with a knee problem-and Lewis Tierney (back) are now also missing. Craig Mullen (ankle) is also doubtful.

On the plus side former Salford centre, Junior Sa’u, will make his first appearance Super League appearance of the season after knee trouble.

“Junior will give us energy, a bit of leadership and hopefully he will put himself about a bit,” said Duffy.

“It will be a tough ask against Saints. But we must try and control the controllables with the players we have got, keep them positive and try to get a performance out of them.”